Bad and Badder 

B & B 
109 S. 6th St, 718-782-2333, Williamsburg
Price range: $18-$30   Rating: 1 L

Bedford and Berry — B&B to the kids — fancies itself a hipster speakeasy, with Edison bulbs (how original!), mismatched furniture (school-house chairs, those are comfy!) and schmaltzy antique photographs (puke!). And it appears a lot of attention has gone into creating a modern take on middle-American comfort food and reimagined pre-Prohibition cocktails. That is, it appears that way. After suffering through a meal here (12 blocks from the L  — damn you South 6th), it’s clear appearances can be deceiving.

But apparently someone is enjoying the fare, as half of the appetizer options were gone. After being told the crispy frogs’ legs (and our next three choices) were unavailable even though the waitress recommended them, my dining companion and I split a Thai shrimp dish. Extremely spicy but not quite hiding substandard shellfish, the dish went back half eaten, as a cloud of regret hung over our table. Cocktails were somewhat better, with an ingenious but overly sweetened take on a mojito (substituting gin for rum and cucumber for lime) and another sugary play on a sidecar.

Mains were no better. A shrimp-stuffed ravioli was downright nasty: a seized-up mass of ground shrimp draped in a gummy pasta shell, all coated with sugary, cafeteria-grade tomato sauce. Best of the night was a cheeseburger. Tasty and pink, it had obviously been sitting around a bit before being served, but still had the intense beefiness of grass-fed beef, paired with undercooked truffle-oil-scented fries. A side of collards came singed, blackened and basically inedible. (Not that I’m opposed to the concept; one of the best Caesar salads I’ve ever had was wood-fired.) And an ample side portion of mac & cheese came coated with red pepper, obscuring any flavor the fun, twisty tube-shaped pasta once knew.

With three-quarters of our meal to take home as leftovers — and then to be left in the fridge to rot — we decided to skip dessert and make the trek back to the L, but instead stopped somewhere on North 6th for something decent to eat. B&B might make a fun night out if you happen to live on South 6th Street and don’t want to leave your block, but better can be had cheaper almost as conveniently, so why bother?


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